Reporting by Mimi Hudoyo and Tiara Maharani
Indonesia is stepping up efforts to boost arrivals from India, a market where it has seen significant growth of late.
India is now among the top five markets to Indonesia, sending 485,000 visitors last year to post a growth rate of 30 per cent, the second highest after China.
In the first two months of 2018, arrivals from India numbered 87,000, surpassing the traditional markets of Japan (74,000) and South Korea (63,000), according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.
Garuda Indonesia, on the back on strong demand, has increased its Denpasar-Mumbai frequency from twice- to thrice-weekly in June, barely two months after the service was launched.
Within the first two months of operating the new route, Garuda has already seen an average load factor of 87 per cent, the airline’s president and CEO Pahala Mansury told TTG Asia.
Pahala said: “We’ve had fantastic response for Denpasar-Mumbai services, so we felt the time was right to add frequency to three flights per week.”
TTG Asia understands that Garuda has plans to add a fourth frequency by this year-end.
Recognising the growth potential of India, the Ministry of Tourism is stepping up efforts and has set a tall target of 700,000 arrivals from India this year, despite the still-limited direct air links between the two countries.
The ministry has rolled out a strategy making Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as hubs to attract travellers visiting these two countries to extend their stays to Indonesia, according to Nia Niscaya, deputy minister for tourism marketing development II (Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe).
“We are promoting the Hot Deal packages to Batam-Bintan and Jakarta, as well as culture and heritage to Yogyakarta and beach resorts like Lombok.
“(The ministry) is not only working together with travel companies in Singapore and Malaysia, but also talking to tour operators in India selling Singapore and Malaysia,” Nia said.
To keep the growth momentum of the Indian market, Umberto Cadamuro, COO inbound of Pacto, opined that Garuda should open another destination from India to Indonesia.
“I hope Garuda will open New Delhi-Denpasar or New Delhi-Jakarta anytime soon. The New Delhi market is huge for both business and leisure travel,” Umberto said.
As well, more destinations in Indonesia should be promoted to the Indian market, acknowledged Sigit Witjaksana, director of tourism marketing for Southern and Central Asia, Middle East and Africa at the Ministry of Tourism.
“During our recent visit to India, (major Indian outbound travel companies) told us that Bali sells on its own and asked us to come up with other destinations for promotion, so we plan to meet their needs,” Sigit said.